Bangkok residents were briefly thrown into panic yesterday by what turned out to be a false flood alarm.
Authorities try to fix a sluice gate at Khlong Ban Phrao in Pathum Thani’s Sam Khok district after northern run-off burst through the gate yesterday, raising fears over possible flooding in northern Bangkok. TAWEECHAI TAWATPAKORN
False alarm spurs near panic
Yingluck says Bangkok floods won't be high
Residents in northern Bangkok and in the capital's inner areas were thrown into panic yesterday after Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi issued a flood evacuation alert which turned out to be a false alarm.
Around 6.30pm at the flood relief operations centre in Don Mueang airport, Mr Plodprasop, chief of operations covering evacuation and flood prevention, issued an evacuation alert for residents in northern Bangkok and Pathum Thani.
Mr Plodprasop announced that northern run-off had burst through a sluice gate at Khlong Ban Phrao in Pathum Thani's Sam Khok district.
He urged residents in Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang and Lam Luk Ka districts, in northern Rangsit, Thammasat University Rangsit Campus, and residents in Bangkok's Sai Mai district to evacuate to safe ground. The areas were expected to be hit by a metre of floodwater, Mr Plodprasop said.
"Rush to Don Mueang [airport] immediately. The government cannot tell how many hours are left," Mr Plodprasop said.
But soon afterwards, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, who heads the flood relief centre, issued an announcement telling people to calm down.
Pol Gen Pracha said the centre had not issued an evacuation alert and the government still had a handle on the flood situation in Bangkok.
There was no need to panic, Pol Gen Pracha said, adding that people should wait for updates from the centre.
A source at the flood relief centre said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and cabinet members were greatly dismayed with Mr Plodprasop's false-alarm evacuation alert.
The source said that while a flood relief meeting attended by the premier and other ministers was in progress, Mr Plodprasop rushed out of the meeting and announced the flood alert – to the shock of the prime minister and other ministers.
This prompted the prime minister to order a clarification, the source said.
On its Facebook page, the flood relief centre also apologised to the public for the false alarm.
The centre explained there were several steps involved in preparing for flood evacuations – moving belongings to higher ground, preparing for evacuation, evacuation and ending evacuation.
For northern Bangkok, the situation is at level One, the centre said.
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said last night city residents should listen to him about when they should evacuate their homes.
"Please listen to me and me alone. I will say when we should evacuate. Please believe me and only me. Don't believe others.
"Others who make a mistake can stay [in office] but I won't be able to if I do," he said.
"Bangkok's people voted for me. This is my holy mission. I will take full responsibility."
City Hall's flood prevention centre said the Irrigation Department had confirmed the water gate at Khlong Ban Phrao was far from inner Bangkok, with many streets and roads serving as barriers.
The breaching of the sluice gate should not affect the capital, the flood prevention centre said.
Mr Plodprasop later said that he actually intended to alert residents living in one-storey houses near the gate.
"Don't panic, Bangkok residents. Bangkok is 100% safe," Mr Plodprasop said.
Prime Minister Yingluck said she was confident Bangkok's inner city areas and areas within the flood barriers would be safe from flooding.
"Bangkok will be safe – particularly areas within flood barricades. But the areas outside the floodwalls may be flood-prone, although water levels will not be high," the prime minister said after inspecting the capital's flood-prone areas by helicopter.
Meanwhile, Sombat Yumuang, director of Geo-Informatics Centre for Thailand and adviser to the government's flood relief operations centre, said it would take 45 days to drain flood water to the sea. Mr Sombat said the government would divert water coming from Nakhon Sawan and Ayutthaya provinces through three main rivers – Tha Chin, Chao Phraya and Bang Prakong. This would help prevent floodwater from sweeping into Bangkok, he said.
sluice gate – a gate that can be opened or closed to control the flow water along a passage ประตูน้ำปิดเปิดบังคับการไหลของน้ำในคลอง
run-off – rain, water or other liquid that runs off land into streams and rivers น้ำหลาก
burst – to break open suddenly because there is too much pressure inside or against โพล่ง, แตก, ระเบิด
false alarm – an occasion when people wrongly believe that something dangerous or unpleasant is happening or will happen กระต่ายตื่นตูม
spur – to cause something to happen ก่อให้เกิด
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
panic – a sudden strong feeling of fear or worry that causes you to be unable to think clearly or calmly ความตื่นตกใจ
issue – to announce something officially ออกประกาศ
evacuation – moving people from a place of danger to a safer place การอพยพ
alert – a warning to people to be prepared to deal with something dangerous การเตือนให้ระวัง
Flood Relief Operations Centre – the government's centre for assisting flood victims ศูนย์ปฎิบัติการช่วยเหลือผู้ประสบอุทกภัย(ศปภ)
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
rush – to move or do something very quickly รีบเร่ง, วิ่ง
immediately – now; happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
calm down – to become or make somebody become quiet and more relaxed after strong emotion or excitement ทำให้สงบ, ทำให้นิ่งเฉย
have a handle on – to have under control ควบคุมได้
update – the most recent information or news about something ข้อมูลใหม่ๆ
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
cabinet members – the group of government ministers that make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
dismayed – very unhappy and disappointed ท้อใจ, ผิดหวัง
shock – a strong feeling of surprise as a result of something happening, especially something unpleasant; the event that causes this feeling ช็อค, ความสะดุ้ง, อาการช็อค
prompt – to cause someone to take action กระตุ้น
clarification – explaining something more clearly so that it is easier to understand ทำให้กระจ่าง
apologise – to say you are sorry for doing something wrong or for cause a problem ขอโทษ
step – one of a series of actions that you do in order to achieve a particular aim ขั้นตอน
level – a position or rank in a scale of size or importance ระดับ
in office – อยู่ในตำแหน่ง
holy – important in a moral and religious way ศักดิ์สิทธิ์
mission – an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do ภาระกิจ หน้าที่
responsibility – a duty ความรับผิดชอบ
irrigation – the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow ระบบชลประทาน
barrier – a wall, pile of sandbags, etc., that prevents water from entering สิ่งกีดขวาง
breaching – breaking through or over something การข้าม, การทำให้แตก
intended – planned; wanted to happen ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
confident –certain; having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
particularly – especially, or more than usual โดยเฉพาะ
barricade – a temporary structure built to prevent someone/something from getting past แผงหรือแนวรั้วกั้น
-prone – (suffix) likely to experience a particular problem more often than is usual ที่มีแนวโน้ม
level – the amount of liquid that there is in a container, river, dam, etc., which can be seen by how high the liquid is ระดับ
inspect – to look at something carefully ตรวจสอบ
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน
adviser – a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject ที่ปรึกษา
drain – to get rid of the water in an area of land ระบายออก
divert – to cause something to change direction เบนเส้นทางเดินน้ำ
sweep into – to move or spread quickly through an area; to move something or someone with powerful force เคลื่อนไปอย่างรวดเร็ว, พัดพาเอาไป